“William is understandably frustrated by his brother’s decision,” a royal source says, adding that some other members of the royal family have called the move “selfish.”
“Many family members were very disappointed with the Sussexes,” the source tells ET.
The statement issued by Harry and Meghan, the source says, was “personal” and not sanctioned by Buckingham Palace.
“The notion that this came out of nowhere is not true. Family members were aware they had been struggling," the source adds.
ET also spoke with royal expert Katie Nicholl shortly after the announcement was made on Wednesday and she said, "I'm told privately that William is absolutely devastated and quite shocked by this decision for Harry to step down from the royal family."
Nicholl added, "I have been told by very credible Palace sources that there were discussions over Christmas when the Sussexes were in Canada. They were in touch with the senior members of the royal family, the queen, the Prince of Wales, and the Duke of Cambridge and this idea of a transition of a change to their roles of them stepping back as senior royals was something that was being discussed, but this was very early-stage discussions. Nothing had been signed off, nothing had been decided upon, and the idea was that it was going to be developed, talked about, a strategy would be worked out and then an announcement would be made."
She added that Harry and Meghan appeared to have "completely jumped the gun" by announcing their news.
"I think William feels a sense of betrayal by his brother and possibly a sense of being abandoned too," Nicholl said. "While Meghan and Harry weren’t the top tier of royals and by that I mean they are not a future king and queen, you know their importance in the royal family is to not be underestimated. They are hugely valuable."
Following Harry and Meghan's announcement, Buckingham Palace, which represents Queen Elizabeth II, issued its own blunt statement, noting that no final decisions had been made about the future of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.